Another day, another group of Trojans named to a 2014 college football award watch list.
Senior linebackers Hayes Pullard and J.R. Tavai were named to the Butkus Award watch list for the coming season, while junior offensive lineman Max Tuerk and senior defensive end Leonard Williams joined Pullard on the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list.
[related-catagory]The Butkus Award is given each year to the nation’s best linebacker as selected by expert scouts and sports journalists. The Rotary Lombardi Award honors the best college football lineman or linebacker.
Pullard, a redshirt senior, decided to forgo entrance into the NFL draft in order to return for his final season captaining USC and it is no surprise that he has garnered plenty of preseason attention. These are his third and fourth watch list appearances after last week’s announcement of his place on the Bednarik Award and Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch lists.
In 2013, Pullard led the Trojan defense at middle linebacker and earned a place on the 2013 All-Pac-12 second team and Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 first team.
Williams also boasts a plethora of watch list appearances for 2014, with the Bednarik Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy all on the lookout for another stand out season from the junior who earned All-American honors in 2013.
Tavai shifted to outside linebacker from the defensive end spot last year and thrived as a starter late in the season. He was a 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention and has the talent to make waves among linebackers in the Pac-12 again in 2014.
Tuerk enters his third season with the Trojans as a nailed on starter for the third time, having earned a place on CollegeFootballNews.com’s Sophomore All-American and the 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention list. He also made Phil Steele’s All-Pac-we third team.
With the ability to play at a high level at about every position on the offensive line, Tuerk’s versatility sets him apart.